'Save Khajaguda': HMDA changes road plan in Khajaguda after activists protest

Activists are protesting against the illegal encroachment on Khajaguda rocks and several violations despite a Telangana High Court order saying the Khajaguda rocks should not be disturbed, damaged, or destroyed. However, on Thursday, at least 50 rocks were wired and blasted by the HMDA, said rock climber and Activist Rithwik Reddy Chamal.

By Amrutha Kosuru  Published on  4 March 2022 2:01 PM GMT
Save Khajaguda: HMDA changes road plan in Khajaguda after activists protest

Hyderabad: In response to the 'Save Khajaguda' campaign, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Agency (HMDA) said it will change the 100ft road plan and re-align the road with the existing kutcha road.

Activists are protesting against the illegal encroachment on Khajaguda rocks and several violations despite a Telangana High Court order saying the Khajaguda rocks should not be disturbed, damaged, or destroyed. However, on Thursday, at least 50 rocks were wired and blasted by the contractors of Hyderabad Road Development Corporation Ltd (HRDCL), said rock climber and Activist Rithwik Reddy Chamal.

"The plans were given by HMDA directing HRDCL to build a road and HRDCL gave it contractors ho blasted the rocks today," he said.

Several activists questioned the need for a new road when there was already a road.

The rock blasting on Thursday took place after a case was booked against the encroachers on 2 March. Additionally, special chief secretary (urban development) Arvind Kumar announced that six security guards have been placed in the area to prevent further encroachment and the village revenue assistant (VRA) has been suspended for dereliction of duties.

"It's sad to lose rocks of such great value. But we have been assured that the road will not be constructed and that there is no threat to the rocks anymore," Ritkwik added.

He said that illegal dumping near the rocks is another major concern. "Illegal dumping of debris and leveling of the surface is going on near the Cave Trail. Many iconic rocks have disappeared under the debris," he said adding this will affect natural water channels and will almost certainly lead to increased flooding during the monsoon.

The activists said there are several conservational problems in the heritage site. But the most imminent one, blasting rocks and laying roads, has come to an end.

Rock formations in Khajaguda were identified as 'heritage precincts' in 2009 under Regulation 13 of Hyderabad Urban Development Authority Zoning Regulations 1981. However, the status was revoked in 2017 when the Regulation was scrapped by the Telangana government. 'Society to Save Rocks' had moved the Telangana High Court challenging this decision, and the court had issued a show-cause notice to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA) against further demolition of rocks.

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